Jemubhai,a retired judge,lives alone with his cook and dog Mutt in an isolated house in Kalimpong,Darjeeling.The arrival of his granddaughter Sai upsets him. Sai is romantically involved with her Math tutor Gyan. In a parallel narrative we are shown the life of Biju,the son of Cook,an illegal immigrant in New York.
The novel,although not directly based, has a foundation in Kalimpong town located in the western part of DARJEELING HILLS.The novel provides wider perspectives on the problems in post colonial Indian society and in a globalized world.Set in the Mid 1980's in Kalimpong the novel talks about its people,culture and the ongoing Gorkhaland Movement.The book contains many insensitive things .What has incensed locals in Kalimpong IS THE PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE OF NEPALESE descent.
The novel is full of stylistic playfulness,touches of comedy,subtlety of logic and nature description.The panorama of the novel is very vast. Desai's use of the omniscient point of view has facilitated the narrative,yet the movements between New York and India sometimes disturb the readers.There is a juxtaposition of place and time. Desai employs stream of consciousness and flashback technique,past is contrasted with present.The local words are used very often.
When I opened the novel I loved it for the descriptions of daily life in Kalimpong as I was able to clearly picture the surroundings.Even though the plot was heavy and story not as interesting as expected,I continued reading because of the strength of the descriptions of Indian life and human predicament.Without the setting the story would struggle to carry a reader along
Book Reviewed By Dr.Neeru Tandon
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